When you think Psychological Horror, what comes to mind? Games like Silent Hill and Amnesia? Movies like The Sixth Sense and Silence of the Lambs? Well, ladies and gentlemen, say hello to the newest great horror game, and it takes the form of a Japanese dating sim.
That’s right, you read that correctly. A dating sim that’s designed to terrify you. Gone are the scenes of taking your personal choice in woman out on multiple tedious dates and in come graphic scenes of murder, suicide, depression, and everything more fitting of a Jigsaw movie than a computer game about Japanese high school students joining a social club.
Introducing “Doki Doki Literature Club!”, a game from Dan Salvato, formerly known as Internet Explorer in the Super Smash Brothers Melee competitive and modding community. With it’s cute exterior, one would no doubt assume it’s a simple visual novel designed to be a breeze where you could get a few easy Steam items. Heck, it’s even got a mini-game where you make a 20-word poem for the girl you like the most. What could possibly go wrong?
And then, it all starts to crumble when you start to realize that the 4 girls you’ve been pining for are NOT what they seem. A wave of depression and murderous tensions wash over the game within the first 20 minutes or so, and it hits you like a sucker punch directly to your nerves. Eventually, the visuals match the eerie tone of the setting, and it leaves you begging for a jumpscare so that it can finally be over. But the ride never ends.
Personally, I recommend this game for any gamer, whether they’re fans of the horror genre or not. It’s the perfect balance of creepiness, weirdness, and even a few laughs here and there. That being said, it’s probably the kind of game you should play with the lights on. By the end of my first (and yes, I said first) playthrough, my paranoia levels were so high, I didn’t even think twice about it being the Uso Penitentiary. Just remember, nobody is who they seem on the outside.
“Doki Doki Literature Club!” is currently available for free on Steam as well as ddlc.moe with the option of purchasing a $10 Fan Pack including the game’s soundtrack, HD wallpapers, and an art booklet.